U.S. rejects Keystone XL pipeline

White House: Congressional deadline torpedoed State Dept. approval

Note: This post was updated at 3:30 p.m. ET:

BREAKING: The U.S. State Department has officially announced its rejection of TransCanada’s proposal to build the Keystone pipeline at a briefing on Wednesday afternoon

There are reports today that the State dept. is going to reject the presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The State Dept. was in the process of deciding whether the project is in the National Interest.  They administration had signaled that it could not reach this determination within the 60-day deadline that Congress imposed in December because officials needed more time to review an alternative route around the Sandhills of Nebraska.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday: “…certainly we made clear back in December that a political effort to short-circuit that process for ideological reasons would be counterproductive because a proper review that weighed all the important issues in this case could not be achieved in 60 days — according to the State Department, which, again, runs this review process.”

And: “… it is a fallacy to suggest that the President should sign into law something when there isn’t even an alternate route identified in Nebraska and when the review process is — there was an attempt to short-circuit the review process in a way that does not allow the kind of careful consideration of all the competing criteria here that needs to be done.”

According to the Washington Post, TransCanada will be allowed to reapply for the permit after it develops an alternative route around Nebraska’s Sandhills. The question is how long will that take? State had indicated they needed a year to consider the alternative route — which would put a final decision past the November presidential election. Perhaps that ends up being the ultimate timing after all?

But expect Republicans to keep pressing for a quick permit. House Speaker John Boehner declared, “This is not the end of this fight.”

This story is developing, please stay tuned for updates.

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